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View Diary: "Socialism is dead"/"Socialism is against human nature." (162 comments)

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  •  Aren't most tribal groups socialistic??? So (15+ / 0-)

    wouldn't that mean that socialism is what is really natural for human groups? I mean look at my neighborhood... we all have our own crap but if my neighbor was hungry and out of work we would help out. When they need a tool or a helping hand we help. They are not relatives nor lord masters. We look out for each others children and homes. We lend a hand when they need it. We share what we can.

    I know none of us would last  long doing that if the person needing help just sat back and took our contributions without trying. But I think that most know that. Maybe that is what freaks some out like one of our neighbors...The Fox news watching loon who is still a good neighbor. Maybe he got burned by someone who doesn't realize the helping hand is not I will sustain and take care of you for all your life without regard to how diminished my becomes.

    So in order to get socialism we need to have some new (truly Christian for those who claim to be that - me I am an atheist) social rules which resolve what happens if someone is a taker and never a contributor (like the 1% are always trying to do - I don't consider having a business where you take advantage of others labor & knowledge without giving them their due share).

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 03:55:20 PM PST

    •  Any grouping of mutual reliance (11+ / 0-)

      is socialism in it's basest definition.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 04:02:51 PM PST

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      •  Bingo! (4+ / 0-)

        Thus, government of any sort is socialistic. The degree is what matters.

        •  Bingo Bingo! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos

          We need to think of "socialism" in broader terms than the standard dictionary definition of, as the diarist says, "public control of the means of production". At least we need to entertain the idea that "public" does not necessarily mean the government. It might be worker's control or neighborhood control.

          One fallacy that we constantly see is to say the socialism and capitalism are opposites. The opposite of socialism is individualism, not capitalism.

          Socialistic societies with capitalistic economies exist in lots of places. Private businesses just need to have firm rules, and have a "mission statement" to always provide for the common good. Government needs to always balance the needs of the group, with the rights and needs of the individual.

          I see "public/private" and "individual/group" as "yin/yang" situations where neither side is more important than the other, but rather as a situation where they are mutually beneficial to each other.

          Of course there will always be a push/pull tension between the two. Finding the balance is what we call "politics".

    •  We Had Some Decent Old Rules To Keep the 1% (13+ / 0-)

      from being too much of taker. We taxed away their additional income to the point that they weren't asking for what they demand now. 50% rate kicked in around 300 grand in today's money. Those kinds of taxes did some massive compression of compensation and wealth in the 50's and 60's.

      People don't take what they don't deserve when they're prevented by a regulatory structure from doing it. It may not necessarily matter whether they own the apparatus they're using. Excess taking has to be prevented. Only in small tribal units or lifeboats can cultural pressure keep it under control, and even there it breaks down regularly.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 04:50:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you prefer a lower standard of living for all? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle

        It is honestly not clear to me if socialists don't understand how retarding incentives to produce and innovate lead to lower standards of living across the board or if it's the case that a morally preferable scenario is discouraging substantial wealth accumulation even if that leads to a smaller overall pie?

        •  I prefer human survival (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus, tonyahky

          Incentives to burn all the coal, oil, gas and tar sands are destructive. And FWIW, over the past 30 years working class folks have not increased their wealth so the system is not working as you think it is.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 04:15:39 AM PST

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          •  debatable (0+ / 0-)

            First, 30 years is a pretty small window of history even if your premise is true.  That said, many measures in fact due show wealth gains across the board, and with regard to something like Internet access, over 90% of US households have the ability to find this post from their living rooms...

            •  Depends on how you define "wealth" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              offgrid

              And you should take into account the fact that many of the kinds of things people own today are very cheap compared to how much they cost when they first came out. You can buy a cell phone for $10 at the dollar general store, a microwave for $40 at wal-mart.

              Changes in the kinds of things most people--including the poor-- own are mostly a function of culture, not wealth.

              Back when my dad was a boy, many people owned the land  (often tens of acres) their houses sat on, had several head of livestock, and owned a large collection of farming implements and hand tools--stuff that would be outrageously expensive to go and buy today. And yet, many persons who owned such things were still considered "poor" by the standards of the time.

            •  I would like to see the data (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              offgrid

              you are referring to.

              And please, no more tired attempts to change the subject by comparing wealth increases to Internet access.

              Look at the gains in real income and wealth since the 70s for those not in the top 5 - 10%.  flat or declining.  all the expanding "pie" is going to those at the top.

        •  the 1% in the 50s and 60s still did very well (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caryltoo, bluegrass50

          they saved on taxes by reinvesting in their businesses... unlike now where they save by off-shoring and pillaging.
          So they still made money and lived very well by the standards of the day. And there was still room to be a multi multi millionaire and even a billionaire or two... but they had to really contribute something via their companies and investments instead of mostly buying legislation, politicians and tax loopholes... WORK for it... earn it by being a net positive to the people who they live off of.

          Having rich people spending 100 million on a yacht and living in palaces and debating on what size private jet to have... with or without the solid gold fixtures in the on plane jacuzzi... and peons salivating over "lifestyles of the rich and famous" TeeVee fluff stuff and Hello magazine type spreads on people's favorite plutonomy icons is all a tip off that something is out of balance...

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:04:10 AM PST

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          •  I don't condone unchecked greed (0+ / 0-)

            But that doesn't justify the greater degrees of poverty that result from trying to oppress these people...  I certainly share your disgust of people who would buy a $100 million yacht, but trying to unnaturally retard the instincts of those people shrinks societies overall output at the expense of all...  Until we shed the instincts that grew in a primitive existence much different from our modern society, we have to strive to ensure transparency as best we can (in government as well as commerce for that matter).  The ideology of socialism addresses this, but the reality of our existence dictates otherwise.  And socialists seem to ignore the greed of laziness that is certainly a drag on the productivity of humanity when incentives for free riding are too great...

            •  My father was a multi-millionaire (0+ / 0-)

              and go figure - he sent me to a genuinely socialist high school.

              He always told me that in business, business people didn't care so much about money, they cared about being the alpha.

              Money was just the way of keeping score.

            •  It really is all about rewards and social standing (0+ / 0-)

              most poorer people have the same desire to be able to take care of themselves and to be approved of socially ... that is they do not want others to get away with cheating and they do not want to be seen as cheaters.

              Crooks at the bottom or the top do not mind cheating a lot more to get ahead, get things or achievements that raise their social status or gain the admiration of others.

              To imagine that most people, especially poor ones are inherently lazy or that all rich people are greedy is just plain wrong. There are exceptions and people point to them as somehow being the rule.

              ALL humans will cheat a little to gain something... tell a small lie, take a bit more now and then... but they also all have limits to their behavior that depend on the approval or disapproval of others AND themselves...

              The problem of wealth is that over time more and more of them are of the rentier/investment class and not the innovator or creative business side of things... and their success is as much due to money making money and having enough money to be changing the rules to allow faster larger  returns on investment... well past the economic health balance of a society. Placing balanced and well thought out limits on the out of control suction of money upwards is not harmful to a society... no it is in fact GOOD for the society... it makes prosperity sustainable and better overall for everyone. The rich can be rich and stay rich... just not so rich they strangle the golden goose eventually.

              And if the rich keep score with each other via their money... they will just have to do it within rules that benefit a long term growth and prosperity formula. The truth is that the best way for the most competitive to get VERY rich VERY fast is to upset things... disaster capitalism is all about shaking things up and gaming the economy into a pyramid scheme where they pull the strings and engineer wealth transfer from the poorer and also their business rivals. And hiding things beyond normal business secrets is part of this con game and contrary to Democracy... hide the means, the strategy, the tactics and the truth to change the law and fool people into giving away their own prosperity.

              Social Democracy with Capitalism harnessed to a transparent system with an informed electorate does kind of blunt the winner takes all pillage and loot approach but it is really the better way and it allows creative businesses who are creative in solutions and ideas, marketing and improvements to compete better instead of having to be more like cutthroat business Mafia worshiping their own bonuses at all costs.

              Rewarding bullies and cheaters maims society at every level... but small time punks and cheaters who are admired in a slum do far less damage to a society than Banksters looting an entire economy.

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:44:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The name of the game is transparency… (0+ / 0-)

                Indeed ultra-greedy people attempt to game the system toward monopoly and information imbalance, but herein lies a key function of government.  Yes regulation can upset economics, but we have to strive toward policies that minimize disruption while fostering transparency.

                The idea that the investment class provides no value is preposterous.  Yes they may take unnaturally high rents and that needs to be considered, but the fact is that economic forces would destroy them if they provided no inherent value (that value being the lending capital to people who need it to grow their businesses because they couldn’t enter that business with their own insufficient capital).  A major reason we are seeing a growing gap in wages and total wealth possession is partially due to the poor economy and partially due to the fact that much of this investment capital is sitting on the sidelines due to uncertainty coming from government and how that will impact investments.  This is why money is flowing to the stock market right now because alternate investments are less attractive.  We need clear policy out of Washington to help drive a true recovery, which will decrease unemployment and drive wages upward….

        •  You do NOT get to "assume" the pie would be (5+ / 0-)

          smaller , and the "average standard of living" would be "lower," under what I am sure you think of as "socialism." There's a whole lot of very good empirical evidence that unbridled corporatist/libertarian-friendly greed shrinks the pie, just cuts off the hugest piece for the few, and screws over the many via everything from externalities to simple theft (see the mortgage racket that's unfolding.)

          The "average good" you espouse is, in my view, bullshit. There are places, "socialist" places, where there's a relatively stable, very comfortable living for the largest number, room for some greed but none of the ridiculous cramming of all the wealth into the very few hands. Along with forcing the "economy" into operating patters based on combustion and manufactured-demand consumption. That pattern is great for the very few, who can steal to their heart's content and live out their lives in "luxury," and like the kleptocrats of yore, sneer at the rest of us, knowing that they are untouchable in the present because they own the corrective mechanisms, and in the future because they will be comfortably dead, so what are the rest of us, eatnig our Soylent Green and Yellow, going to do? Dig up their sorry-ass carcasses and dishonor them a la Mussolini?

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:48:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd say simply that your perception of reality... (0+ / 0-)

            Is in fact a non-reality per the other comments I've made here...  That is the rhetoric of demagogues that ignore the very rapid advancement of standard of living we've seen in the past couple of hundred and even the past 40-50 years.  How many homes have washing machines and high speed internet capability?  Who is going hungry?  I don't condone unchecked greed, but trying to repress it through redistribution retards innovation and hurts us all...

            •  Restating the same false syllogism does not turn (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radmul, offgrid

              it into Truth. Back to Texas with you... you've got your own serious demagogue skills to add to.

              Where have we heard that crap about "everybody has a microwave and TV, so it proves we're all better off" before? One of the favorite RW baits?

              As to who is going hungry, you hang around here and read the dairies, maybe -- so you should have a pretty good picture of who exactly is going hungry. And how many of us. And the plans to strip ever more wealth and income from the many of us to ensure the, ah,, "comfort" of the few of us.

              "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

              by jm214 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:27:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Our standard of living is worse (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe

              Who, on average, could afford to have a nice house and a parent at home, and the other parent home at 6pm?

        •  tell me how then we have had (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radmul, Mad Season

          a stagnant or lower income and wealth for the bottom half or more of the distribution since the 70s.

          What about reality don't you understand?

        •  If you talk to most small business owners (0+ / 0-)

          you will discover that most of them do not do what they do for money.  

          They do it for pride in themselves.

          Many do not make any money for years - if at all.

          I know, because I am one.

          Someone who is primarily motivated by money is never going to produce anything much worth a damn.

    •  Israel Is Pretty Socialist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, Wildthumb

      Do they still have kibbutzes?

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:18:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is one of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mad Season

      size.  People tend to treat those they have regular contact with fairly well.  As soon as you get social relations where people don't know each other things get more difficult.

    •  People do share and help one another. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radmul, Mad Season

      Corporations do not.

      This idea that corporations are people is fallacious, of course, but let's give them that for the sake of the argument.

      Corporations are horrible people. They are legally bound to one motivation, profit, and are forbidden from helping those against whom they "compete." They may be legal persons for the time being, but they are far from attaining humanity, and it is humanity, not personhood, that should drive our legislative and governing impulse.

      So we can either change our laws restricting corporations from acting in ways that support the whole system, even if it's at the expense of their bottom line, or we can do away with the concept that they are people altogether and let humans run our society instead of turning it over to them.

      This lies at the heart of solving our problems going forward. Whose influence should determine the course of humanity, humans or legal persons?

      Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

      by trevzb on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:29:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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